DIY Dinner Kits: From Doorstep to Table in 30 Minutes or So

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Best Tips: Saving on Food

By Krystal Steinmetz

I enjoy cooking, but I despise the preparation for making dinner. It can be expensive and time-consuming to find a recipe, go grocery shopping and then prepare the ingredients to be cooked. But there are increasing number of alternatives.

Plated, for instance, aims to simplify the process by providing subscribers with the recipes and fresh ingredients needed to make a wholesome homemade dinner with a minimum of stress. Most of Plated's meals are designed to go from refrigerator-boxed ingredients on your doorstep to a hot-cooked meal on your dinner table in 20 to 40 minutes.

According to Real Simple, Plated takes the hassle out of making dinner, so you can enjoy cooking again (or maybe for the first time). Here's how it works: "The idea behind Plated is amazingly simple: Every week you go on the site, choose the recipes you'd like, and on your selected delivery date your Plated box arrives with everything you need to prepare your meals. If one of the dishes you chose calls for 2 wild-caught salmon fillets and 3 ounces of foraged mushrooms, you will get the exact amount needed of each ingredient with absolutely zero waste or excess ingredients."

More Choices

Epicurious describes Plated as "meal kits for the adventurous." If that's not your style, there are other options for meal delivery kits. Here's the scoop on some of the services available:
  • Plated. Cost: $12 a plate, minimum order of four plates of one recipe or two portions of two recipes. Plated is available across 95 percent of the country. Click here to get four free Plated meals with the purchase of two meals.
  • Blue Apron. "A weekly box of everything you need to make at least three meals for two people, customized based on your dietary preferences and including calorie counts," Epicurious said. Cost: $60 (minimum order) a week. Blue Apron is available everywhere except the Midwest.
  • Peachdish. This option includes Southern-inspired recipes and the (Southern-sourced) ingredients to cook the meal. Cost: $50 (minimum order) a week, or $12.50 a serving. Peachdish is available nationwide.
  • Scrumpt. This is designed for kids, with weekly deliveries of pediatrician- and nutritionist-curated lunch ingredients. "A complete lunch kit with perishable ingredients is available in San Francisco for $34 a week; a basic lunch kit of nonperishables is available nationwide for $13.50," Epicurious said.
  • HelloFresh. If you're a "food lover who is also concerned about nutrition," then HelloFresh is for you, Today said. The cost is $69 a week for three two-person meals.
I've considered signing up for a service like It's a low-cost meal planning service that lets you select one of 50 meal-plan options (I would likely choose the family-inspired meals), and then it emails you the recipes and a grocery list so you can shop and cook without the hassle of planning the meals. I have friends who have used the service and loved it.

What do you think about meal kit deliveries? Have you tried any? Share your comments below or the Money Talks News Facebook page. Like this article? Sign up for our newsletter and we'll send you a regular digest of our newest stories, full of money saving tips and advice, free! We'll also email you a PDF of Stacy Johnson's "205 Ways to Save Money" as soon as you've subscribed. It's full of great tips that'll help you save a ton of extra cash.
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